It's been quite a week. Welcome to the new followers! Received a sudden influx of comments. A friend figured out that this got selected for Blogger's "Blogs of note". As luck would have it, the selection happened during a break (the Blogger staff don't notify in advance). So thank you very much for the attention and kind comments. I'll try to keep supplying material.
The latest project is a portrait of a Swedish opera singer named Jenny Lind. She's such an important name in Sweden that they put her portrait onto their money; she's on the front of the 50 kronor bill. In 1850 she toured the United States and sat for a photograph. Unfortunately for my poor self, high tech for 1850 was a process called a daguerrotype. I've never seen a daguerrotype that's been preserved in good condition. As you can see from the detail above, hers is no exception. I've already spent more than twenty hours on it and expect to spend twenty more. So here's a look at the work in progress.
First I worked on the background and the really obvious scratches. As of this screen shot I was starting to get to the scratch that crosses the bridge of her nose.
One question I asked along the way was whether those spots on her face might be freckles. A close examination at 300% resolution indicated that the spot pattern on her face is continued through the background. She was thirty years old when this was taken, which is past the age when freckles are most noticeable. So I worked from the assumption that those spots were degradation. Here's how far this segment has progressed.
The collar and shoulder are looking better. Still need to do detail work at her eyes, eyebrows, hair, and nostril. Large numbers of parallel scratches are difficult to repair. In this instance that repair has additional complications: the version of this image that has been digitized isn't the original daguerrotype. Sometime during the twentieth century the daguerrotype was rephotographed with a film camera for archival purposes. That second camera was at soft focus. So unlike direct daguerrotype scans, which have good resolution, this version gets muddy at close view.
Still, she's one of the most famous women in Swedish history. So here's a look at the whole thing, reduced in size from the version I'm actually working on.